Nearly 400 people arrive in UK after crossing Channel in small boats on Monday

Nearly 400 people arrived in the UK on small boats after crossing the Channel on Monday, including a girl pictured wearing no shoes.

The UK authorities brought 395 people ashore from 12 boats, nearing this year’s daily record of 40 on March 15, while another 101 people on four boats were intercepted by the French.

This means more than 4,500 people have been brought to the UK since the start of the year, according to figures collated by the PA news agency.

It comes as controversial measures to curb Channel crossings in the government’s nationality and Borders Bill saw off a potential rebellion in the Commons, meaning the plans are likely to be implemented.

The bill would see asylum seekers penalised for arriving in the UK via unauthorised routes, denying any right to permanent protection in the UK and potentially removed to offshore hubs while their claims are processed – though no country has agreed to this yet.

It could also people prosecuted and jailed for arriving by unofficial means, though immigration minister Tom Pursglove has claimed this would only be used in “egregious cases”, such as someone entering the country in breach of a deportation order.

Peers voted to remove these clauses in the bill last month, but the government won a string of votes to restore elements changed in the House of Lords last week.

Refugee charities have warned that the plans will see vast amounts of public money wasted on “cruelly” pushing away and criminalising men, women and children in need of safety and protection.

Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, has said the measures will not deliver the “humane, fair, efficient and orderly asylum system that is needed” to fix the asylum system.

Responding to the crossings on Monday, Mr Pursglove said: “The rise in dangerous Channel crossings is unacceptable.

“Not only are they an overt abuse of our immigration laws but they also impact on the UK taxpayer, risk lives and our ability to help refugees come to the UK via safe and legal routes. Rightly, the British public has had enough.”

He said that the Nationality and Borders Bill would “crack down” on people smugglers and “fix the broken system by making it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally, and introducing a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for those who facilitate illegal entry into our country”.

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